Working together in support of the U.S.-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership (USACEP), the United States, Brunei, and Indonesia have strengthened and expanded energy and environmental cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region over the past year. USACEP, launched by President Obama, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia at the 7th East Asia Summit in 2012, works across existing regional forums to ensure affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the Asia-Pacific region. The Partnership is focused on four regional priorities: renewables and cleaner energy; markets and interconnectivity; the emerging role of natural gas; and sustainable development.
Together, we have made strong strides towards these goals in 2013. In particular, Brunei has shown leadership on solar power and interconnectivity, and Indonesia has shown leadership on emerging opportunities in geothermal energy and natural gas. As this partnership moves into its second year, the United States recognizes the valuable contributions of founding partners Brunei and Indonesia and will build on the inaugural year’s impressive progress by rotating to new partnerships, including with Singapore, a country strongly committed to the goals and priorities of USACEP.
To achieve the Partnership’s goals, the United States has made available up to $6 billion in financing that will drive U.S. energy investments in the region and support economic growth and jobs at home.
To maximize these financial resources and deepen trade and investment linkages, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), supported by the Department of State, are establishing the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Program at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. The program will leverage USACEP resources to catalyze private U.S. investment in the Asia-Pacific region by offering a range of tools, such as financing, insurance, project preparation and technical assistance support, while enhancing U.S.-Asia business partnerships.
In the last year, the U.S. government has worked through USACEP to support significant new export and investment opportunities for U.S. companies, including:
In Indonesia, Department of State and USTDA support for renewable power has helped open prospects for U.S. investment in Indonesia’s geothermal power generation market. This includes three USTDA supported cost-shared feasibility study grants to develop more than 660 MWs of geothermal projects worth an estimated $2 billion, as well as a geothermal development training program in six Indonesian cities and a Reverse Trade Mission to the U.S. for geothermal project sponsors and government officials. Department of State and Department of Commerce engagement under USACEP is supporting the development of 60 MWs of geothermal power by Ormat Technologies, Inc at Huu Dompu, Indonesia. The project is valued at $250 million, more than half of which is represented by U.S. exports.
In Vietnam, a USTDA-sponsored technical assistance effort for a wind grid code is being undertaken by GE Energy Consulting and the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam to study the integration of large scale wind energy to Vietnam’s power grid. A Vietnam Wind Power Development Reverse Trade Mission sponsored by USTDA and financing supported by Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) under a 2010 MOU with the Vietnam Development Bank are also helping to expand opportunities for U.S. clean energy companies and investors.
Over the past year, USACEP applied a whole-of-government approach to increase energy cooperation in its four key regional priorities, including the following activities:
Renewable and cleaner energy:
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Government of Brunei hosted a workshop on best practices for grid-connected solar PV projects, one of the first activities of the East Asian Summit Renewable and Alternative Power Workstream, a multi-year effort to increase private sector investments in renewable energy technologies in the region;
In October, Indonesia hosted an Asia-Pacific Conference on Clean, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Use of Energy in Bali.
Markets and interconnectivity:
The State Department and the Governments of Singapore and Brunei will co-host a minister-level conference on October 29 to advance connectivity in Asian power markets;
In April, USTDA led delegates from ASEAN countries to meet with U.S. utilities and U.S. government agencies that have implemented smart grid initiatives, as well as U.S. companies that provide smart grid solutions, leading to the preparation of new smart grid cooperation projects in several ASEAN countries.
The emerging role of natural gas:
The State Department and the Government of Indonesia co-hosted a conference in May for APEC and ASEAN representatives to discuss changing global gas markets, unconventional gas, and resource commercialization issues, following a USTDA-led and State Department-supported unconventional gas trade mission to the United States for Indonesian public and private sector officials.
DOE will launch the Sustainable Energy for Remote Indonesian Grids (SERIG) project to conduct technical and economic analysis to support the development of business cases for high-penetration renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to displace diesel generation on selected islands and remote grids, including the Winrock remote mini-grid project valued at $20 million;
USTDA is sponsoring a Regional Waste-to-Energy/Biomass Reverse Trade Mission to the United States for Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines in November 2013.
In the coming year, the United States will continue its USACEP cooperation with its new regional partners to drive investment and open commercial opportunities for U.S. businesses in clean energy, which will help provide affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the Asia-Pacific.